Starting Down the Official Path to Wine Expertise

I certainly have a long way to go before I can claim that I am any sort of wine expert. However, last night, I took a baby step in that direction by starting the course that will lead to my earning a foundational certificate from the Wine Spirit and Education Trust, based in the UK. The course is quite basic, and it is followed by the intermediate and advanced levels. But I definitely think it’s necessary to have something like this on my resume to prove that I’m not just downing bottles of wine to improve my knowledge. The instructor and director at the Cleveland Wine School, Marianne Frantz, is awesome. She’s extremely down to earth and not at all a wine snob. In fact, among the bottles of wine hanging in the school/store, she includes a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20, she says, to remind us that “We’ve all thrown up something like that at one time or another.” How true! The first course took us through the winemaking process, and we tasted six wines, as well as four “solutions” that helped us identify sweetness, acidity, alcohol, and tannins in wine. It was all very informative, and I’m looking forward to the next course! It’s only 3 courses, once a week, and then we take the exam. Of the wines we tasted, I really enjoyed the Zilliken Butterfly Riesling (Germany) and Matua Sauvignon Blanc (NZ), both wineries I had never heard of. Taking this class definitely inspires me to perhaps teach about wine some day!

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2 Responses

  1. Found your site through a Dr. Vino comment. I disagree with your thought that you need some sort of external validation. I apologize in advance if I have misinterpreted your post to mean that that is what you are seeking through this certification process. Your wine knowledge is your own, and you impart it to the people you interact with on a daily basis. That is all you really need. You are no better or worse than anyone else when it comes to “expertise.’ We are all offering up our own opinions on what is after all just spoiled grape juice. Really, really tasty spoiled grape juice.

  2. Thank you for your comment Peter. Although I agree that no one can truly validate anyone else’s wine knowledge, the course is very useful for me both for educational purposes, as well as to show that I’m serious about learning more about wine. It’s working well so far!

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